TORONTO – The steps taken by the Ontario government to protect temporary workers and regulate unscrupulous temp agencies are a good start, but further action is needed to improve health and safety for such workers, Unifor says.
“These fly by night agencies have damaged communities by exploiting the most vulnerable workers, including racialized workers, women, newcomers and migrant workers,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.
“We commend the government for listening to advocates and community members and introducing these changes.”
Unifor has long supported regulating the temporary help agency industry, including a submission last January to the province’s consultations on temp agencies calling for improved health and safety and other protections for temporary workers.
Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi called for stronger action to be taken to protect the health and safety of temporary workers.
“We urge the province to take further action to support and protect the health and safety of all temporary help agency workers – particularly those who continue working in dangerous workplaces,” Rizvi said.
Noting that five temporary workers have died at industrial bakery Fiera Foods, Rizvi called for Section 83.4 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to be enacted so that the places where people actually work are held responsible for their health and safety.
“Right now, because of legislative gaps, employers are able to skirt their responsibility when workers in dangerous workplaces are hurt or even killed on the job,” Rizvi said.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
Information about the union's response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/covid19.
To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype or FaceTime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Stuart Laidlaw at @email or 647-385-4054 (cell).